The Vaccines: Come Of Age album review
Buy: Come Of Age
More than any other current band, The Vaccines understand the current music industry landscape perfectly. There are no ‘big bands’ anymore, and there probably never will be again. The days of people camping outside record shops for the latest Oasis album are well and truly gone. The fractured, increasingly segregated music audience has led to the emergence of a new era of music – where the massive, mainstream-straddling super bands of old are replaced by lots of smaller bands shooting up out of several different niches and genres.
The good thing about this is that everyone’s Spotify or Soundcloud feed is always well populated with a variety of different new music to dip into. The bad thing is that, in a bid to try and maximise their brief moment in the spotlight, bands like The Vaccines are forced to rush out a second album just a year after they released their debut. The fear of being forgotten by an obviously restless audience is forgivable, but it does kind of scream of ‘careerism’ – which is a big no-no if The Vaccines are serious about becoming a ‘proper rock band’. It also does nothing for the quality of their music…
Although they’ve commendably tried to talk up Come Of Age as a rough and ready, capture-the-live-atmosphere album, The Vaccines can’t hide the fact that this second album suffers badly from a lack of new ideas. There’s no discernible development of their sound, approach or outlook, with songs like ‘No Hope’, ‘Teenage Icon’ and ‘Change Of Heart Pt 2’ in particular sounding like they came straight from the What Did You Expect From The Vaccines sessions. And for a band so unashamedly one-dimensional as The Vaccines, that’s a big problem.
In their defence there is evidence that they have tried to address this issue and give us a break from their tiresome sub-Libertines schtick. ‘I Always Knew’ has a nice, dreamy ‘60’s vibe to it, the moody ‘Ghost Town’ adds a bit of much needed atmosphere and the slinky ‘I Wish I Was A Girl’ shows The Vaccines are capable of a change of pace. Unfortunately, these slight deviations flash past as unrealised glimpses rather than fully-formed ideas – which is a shame as you get the impression that, with a bit more time, The Vaccines could put together a much more textured and interesting album. Maybe next years follow-up will be better…